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António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, his call for a global ceasefire - Virtual Press Conference
30 Apr 2020 -  Dear journalists, good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be back with you, if only virtually, to be able to update you on what we have been doing.

COVID-19 continues its path of worsening destruction.

We mourn the lives lost – more than 200,000.

We despair that many more will follow, particularly in places least able to cope.

I am particularly worried about the lack of sufficient solidarity with developing countries -- both in equipping them to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which risks spreading like wildfire, and to address the dramatic economic and social impacts.

As the virus rages, the United Nations has mobilized fully to save lives, stave off famine, ease the pain and plan for recovery. Our voice has been clear, calling for solidarity, unity and hope.

We appealed for a global ceasefire so that the world can face together our common enemy: COVID-19.

We set out a U.S.$2 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan for the most vulnerable populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons. Donors have generously pledged $1 billion. The plan must be fully funded.

With the World Health Organization, we participated in the launch of the ACT Accelerator – a global collaboration to speed up the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

These must be available to everyone, everywhere, and they must be affordable as a quintessential global public good. I call on donors to help kick-start this effort with generous contributions at Monday's pledging summit in Brussels.

We placed the UN system network of supply chains at the disposal of developing countries – and millions of test kits, respirators and surgical masks have now reached more than 100 countries. Our solidarity flights have now delivered almost 1,200 metric tons of test kits and other essential medical supplies to 52 countries in Africa.

We appealed for compassion and mutual respect in response to COVID-related stigma and hate speech.

And since the beginning, mobilizing contributions from the entire UN family, a series of reports and policy briefs have provided analysis and advice for an effective, coordinated response by the international community.

Our first report documented the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19, and was followed by a framework to guide our country teams in their support of government action in response and recovery.

We highlighted the disproportionate impacts on women, including a horrifying rise in domestic violence. One hundred and forty-six governments have voiced their support for my call, and for the proposals I made.

We underscored the dangers facing children, including the approximately 1.6 billion children and young people who are out of school.

UN agencies raised the alert about the risk of rising food insecurity. An additional 130 million people could be suffering acute hunger by the end of the year.

We provided guidance on how to address the increasingly urgent human rights dimensions of COVID-19, and how to fight the spread of lies and misinformation.

Tomorrow, we will issue a report on the particular vulnerability of older persons, to be followed by our analysis of the consequences of COVID-19 for persons with disabilities and the impacts on mental health.

The United Nations is also fully engaged on the ground.

Our country teams are working in coordination with Governments to mobilize funding, to assist health ministries on preparedness and response to stay ahead of the curve, and to support economic and social measures, from food security and home schooling to cash transfers and many others.

Our peace operations continue to carry out their important protection mandates, and to support peace and political processes.

Our humanitarian agencies, despite access challenges, are making sure that humanitarian assistance does not stop. They are reaching more than 110 million people in 57 countries.

I also welcome the two resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, reflecting the determination of Member States to cooperate in addressing the pandemic and enhancing access to medicines and vaccines.

Today I would like to highlight three key dimensions of our efforts.

First, achieving a global cease-fire.

The cease-fire call has resonated widely, with endorsements from 114 Governments, diverse regional organizations, religious leaders and more than 200 civil society groups spanning all regions. Among all those, there were 16 armed groups.

But we know that mistrust remains high, and that it is difficult to move to implementation.
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